The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) has announced successful proof-of-concept trial of Wi-Fi 6E at a major university campus in Europe. The trial projects the Extreme Networks AP4000 Wi-Fi 6E access point’s unique capability of enabling immersive, interactive learning experiences, including 8K video. This was the first time Wi-Fi 6E was tested on a network that is connected to WBA OpenRoaming, which allows seamless handover between cellular and Wi-Fi networks.
The trial was conducted at the Polytechnic Institute of Viseu (IPV) in Portugal and is a milestone toward a full deployment that will provide the faculty and students new options to interact with online resources like video, in the classroom and remotely. The trial, which was a collaboration between IPV, Broadcom, Extreme Networks, Intel, and Samsung, covered variety of bandwidth-intensive and latency-sensitive video use cases in a high-density environment. These include:
- 8K video feed across the Wi-Fi 6E network, with a Wi-Fi 6E-enabled device as the broadcast platform. Scenarios included teaching remotely with HD video in the classroom and simultaneous student access to HD and 8K videos for remote learning.
- Fast handover for roaming between mobile and Wi-Fi networks that enabled users to seamlessly stay connected as they move on and off campus without impact on performance, despite the number of users on the network.
- Online classroom resources made available for remote learning, to ensure students can simultaneously access and interact with the same resources without increased lag time or buffering.
Extreme deployed four of its AP4000 access points for this trial in a 1,400-square-meter venue that IPV uses to host on-campus events. Broadcom, Intel, and Samsung supplied laptops, smartphones, and tablets enabled with 6E chipsets for the trials. During the trial, Extreme observed a maximum download speed of 1.7 Gbps which is close to the AP4000’s maximum possible throughput. More trials will be conducted as new devices with 6E chipsets reach the market. This includes augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) devices that enable immersive classroom experiences and provide faculty and students new ways to interact.
The Wi-Fi 6E connection speed shown during the trial will enable IPV to increase its offerings for immersive hybrid learning. Wi-Fi 6E will enable IPV to increase its use of technology for students on and off campus and give them the skills necessary to obtain a job after graduating. IPV also delivers regional Wi-Fi for the Viseu municipality. Wi-Fi 6E will ensure IPV has the bandwidth necessary to offer connectivity for students and local citizens who want to use it.
IPV is the first organization in Portugal to participate in WBA OpenRoaming, that enables students, teachers, and other users in campus automatically connect to a high-speed, secure, carrier-grade Wi-Fi 6 network wherever they are without experiencing disruption to their wireless network connection. WBA OpenRoaming enables seamless handoffs from cellular networks to Wi-Fi, ensuring uninterrupted connectivity for users on the IPV campus.
During the trial, IPV students did not have issues transferring between the OpenRoaming network and the Wi-Fi 6E network. IPV is also exploring the possibility of using OpenRoaming to seamlessly integrate its Wi-Fi 6E network with cellular networks.
Tiago Rodrigues, CEO of the Wireless Broadband Alliance, said, “This trial showcases how WBA OpenRoaming and Wi-Fi 6E are ideal for delivering the kinds of immersive, interactive learning experiences that are the future of higher education. Whether they’re all in the same classroom or spread around the IPV campus, Wi-Fi 6E ensures that faculty and students will enjoy the same reliable, high-quality experiences even with the most demanding applications, including 8K video and AR/VR.”
Luís Almeida, Senior Network Administrator, Instituto Politécnico de Viseu, said, “Having a Wi-Fi 6E network on campus will open the door for us to increase our usage of emerging technology in the classroom. We can make our labs more immersive, increase the resources that we offer students online, and ensure that students have the same learning experience whether they are in the classroom or consuming lessons remotely. As soon as we are able to roll Wi-Fi 6E out across our entire campus, we know our students, educators, and all who connect to our network will immediately see the benefits of being able to connect in a new, clean spectrum.”